Wednesday, September 26, 2012

String Beans with Peanuts--Something Asian

In the food stores selling exotic vegetables you can spot sometimes beans resembling long pieces of string. They are popular in Asian and African culinary tradition. Intrigued by the look of these beans I bought them once and I have been buying them ever since, especially when they are fresh and green. I like these string beans because they hardly have any seeds, and rather thick, green flesh. They cook pretty fast but it also is easy to keep them al dente. They maintain their nice green color if cooked uncovered.

String beans can be prepared as traditional green beans but I like them most made the Asian way. So far I have tried only one such recipe, with soy sauce and peanuts. Thanks to peanuts the dish is so reach that it can be served alone, especially if you invite your vegetarian friends for dinner. A delicate taste of the beans and the crunchiness of the peanuts are even appealing to my very picky son.

String Beans with Peanuts

2 lb long string beans,
1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts,
3 tbsp soy sauce,
3 garlic cloves, chopped,
2 shallots, chopped,
2 tbsp lime juice,
2 tbsp rice bran or peanut oil,
2 chili peppers (optional),
salt if needed.

1. Cook the string beans for about 5-8 minutes (until soft) in a large pot of boiling water with a tbsp of salt. Drain them and wash with cold water to prevent further cooking. When beans are cold, trim the ends off, and cut the beans into the length of match sticks.
2. Crush peanuts or chop them roughly with a large knife.
3. In a large wok or heavy skillet heat the oil until very hot. Add garlic with chopped shallots and fry until gold. Add chopped peanuts and stir them continuously while frying them until gold. Add beans to the skillet stir-fry for about 3 minutes, to make sure they are hot, and stir them to get them coated with peanuts.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the soy sauce and the lime juice over the beans. Add salt if needed. Serve hot alone or with meats.

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